Hetty from ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ Highlighted in Misleading Ad

For at least several months, a strange online advertisement promised information about "why Hetty no longer appears on 'NCIS: Los Angeles.'"

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Hetty Lange from NCIS Los Angeles was mentioned in an ad that led to a story that didn't mention her once.
Image via Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic

In May 2021, fans of the CBS television drama “NCIS: Los Angeles” perhaps noticed a widely distributed online advertisement about the character Hetty Lange. Lange is portrayed by Oscar-winning actress Linda Hunt, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for “The Year of Living Dangerously” (1983).

Please note that the rest of this story contains spoilers for “NCIS: Los Angeles.”

The Misleading Ad

The ad in question promised: “[Photos] Why Hetty No Longer Appears On NCIS Los Angeles.”

Hetty Lange from NCIS Los Angeles was mentioned in an ad that led to a story that didn't mention her once.
Clicking the ad led to a 35-page slideshow article that never ended up mentioning Hetty Lange.

Hosted by the Outbrain advertising network, the Hetty ad had been displayed on a number of websites for at least several months. Outbrain-hosted ads appear across a large number of pages including quite a few local news websites.

Despite the ad’s promise, it led to a 35-page slideshow article that never ended up mentioning Hetty Lange on “NCIS: Los Angeles.”

The Real Reason for Hetty’s Absence

Hunt’s recent absence from the show is simple. The show’s producers wanted to keep the 76-year-old actress safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Oct. 30, 2020, TV Line published a quote from “NCIS: Los Angeles” showrunner R. Scott Gemmill.

Given how COVID can be especially tough on older people, shows may take extra precautions with cast members and recurring guest stars of a certain age.

NCIS: LA, for example, filmed Linda Hunt’s scenes for the Nov. 8 season premiere at the actress’ home, outside in her driveway!

“We’re doing everything we can to keep everyone safe, and Linda, you know, is a little extra-special in terms of how we have to look out for her,” showrunner R. Scott Gemmill explained.

Hetty Returning for Finale

While the ad and lengthy story were misleading, fans of “NCIS: Los Angeles” can look forward to the character’s return in the season finale on May 23.

According to multiple entertainment blogs, Linda Hunt will make another appearance as Hetty Lange.

On April 23, 2021, Digital Spy reported that “NCIS: Los Angeles” would return for its 13th season, likely later in 2021. However, returning cast members had not yet been announced.

Snopes debunks a wide range of content, and online advertisements are no exception. Misleading ads often lead to obscure websites that host lengthy slideshow articles with lots of pages. It’s called advertising “arbitrage.” The advertiser’s goal is to make more money on ads displayed on the slideshow’s pages than it cost to show the initial ad that lured them to it. Feel free to submit ads to us, and be sure to include a screenshot of the ad and the link to where the ad leads.